Paru le vendredi 2 octobre 2015 sur The Gazette
UQAM researchers developing electronic hockey puck for the visually impaired
KEVIN MIO, MONTREAL GAZETTE
More from Kevin Mio, Montreal Gazette
Published on: October 2, 2015 | Last Updated: October 2, 2015 7:57 AM EDT
Hockey is a fast-paced game that relies on speed and vision. But there’s a group of players in Montreal — and others across the country — who don’t let the fact they have a visual impairment get in the way of their love of the game.
Watching Les Hiboux de Montréal play a game looks very similar to your average adult garage league, except for one major difference. Rather than a puck, players — all of whom are visually impaired — use a tin can that is painted black and filled with marbles to score goals. The sound it makes lets players follow the puck, but there are limits to how effective that is, especially when the can is in the air and makes no noise.
“We would love to play with something that is more like a real puck, but that makes a sound,” said Gilles Ouellet, president of Les Hiboux and an employee of the Université du Québec à Montréal.
With that idea in mind, Ouellet approached the university 18 months ago about trying to find a solution following an exhibition game between Les Hiboux and a team from UQAM.
“We discussed with the vice-rector at the university about our project and how we wanted to develop a real electronic puck that would make sound whether it’s in the air or immobile,” Ouellet said.
With the help of the vice-rector, Ouellet and his team were put in contact with a group of researches from UQAM that is helping to develop the concept.
Steve Vézeau, a professor in UQAM’s design department, took up the task of designing a puck casing that would house fragile electronics.
“Our role consists of finding a container, if you will, to contain the electronic equipment and at the same time find a way … to manufacture it so it can keep the equipment secure and, at the same time, be esthetic, solid and light,” he said.